Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 10,360 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Motherland
Lowest review score: 0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Score distribution:
10360 movie reviews
  1. The film's bigger problem is that after a certain point the way in which Evans allows DeNoble to narrate his own story comes to feel self-congratulatory and makes Addiction Incorporated seem a bit more like an advertisement or an endorsement than an investigation or exploration.
  2. Never tries to confuse our loyalties or question the strategies of our hero or bring home the all-embracing soul-destroying horrors of war for all sides. Braveheart may be rip-roaring, but it isn't all that brave.
  3. Numerous good things can be said about Apocalypto, the director's foray into the decaying Mayan civilization of the early 1500s, but every last one of them is overshadowed by Gibson's well-established penchant for depictions of stupendous amounts of violence.
  4. If we'd never seen another film on the horrors of apartheid, all this might have been more impressive, but we have and it isn't.
  5. Less than the sum of its parts. The connective tissue of its episodes and set pieces -- some of which pack a memorable punch -- is not a compelling story line but the painterly physicality of the movie's stop-motion animation.
  6. Succeeds best when it intensifies its focus on the work and life of its main subject, seen in interviews, home movies and in a climactic performance with Bono and the Edge on "Tower of Song."
  7. Although Born Romantic is sweetly intentioned and staunchly on the side of love, it meanders long to enough to alienate whatever affection it otherwise earns.
  8. Unfortunately, Dylan Mohan Gray's slow and steady exposé never quite manages the propulsive gut punch its incendiary subject demands.
  9. Queen & Country — though often charming — has a tendency to wander and strain.
  10. The new live-action rendering of E.B. White's perennial children's favorite, Charlotte's Web, is so carefully spun that it's lifeless.
  11. The film itself often feels stilted and repetitive.
  12. Only half as clever as it thinks and even less entertaining.
  13. The movie has the taut efficiency of a well-constructed crime thriller, while its real-world underpinnings play out with a less convincing sense of urgency.
  14. Concerned mainly with the mechanics of the undertaking, the movie is less an incisive chronicle than a galvanizing tool for parents who are, understandably, frustrated with the system.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Charting its protagonist's agonizing slide into senility, the Japanese melodrama Memories of Tomorrow invites mostly unflattering comparisons with "Away From Her."
  15. Batman Returns, the most eagerly awaited and aggressively hyped film of the summer, is, for better and worse, very much the product of director Tim Burton's morose imagination. His dark, melancholy vision is undeniably something to see, but it is a claustrophobic conception, not an expansive one, oppressive rather than exhilarating, and it strangles almost all the enjoyment out of this movie without half trying.
  16. A film whose reach exceeds its grasp. Hugely ambitious and not without moments of success, this indulgent 2 hour and 40 minute epic ends up as unwieldy as its elongated title. It's a movie in love with itself, and few things are more fatal than that.
  17. The young filmmaker rarely digs beneath the harsh environment's many fraught surfaces. He simply lets his cameras be his guide.
  18. While often affecting and absorbing, the film proves intellectually and contextually light. This is especially true given a leisurely running time that could have easily accommodated more dimensional probing.
  19. Loving and well-intentioned though this film is, it never convinces you that its subject matter merits this kind of idealized, worshipful attention. [09 Oct 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  20. Ascher is too content to let repetition of experience take over his film.
  21. What should be a sexually and emotionally charged atmosphere instead ends up feeling like an intellectual exercise, with the actors attempting mightily to simulate chemistry that simply doesn't exist.
  22. Though comedy is an intrinsic part of the play, director Zaks has not found a way to translate it effectively on screen.
  23. Promising as it seems in theory, everything in this new version, like Lena Lamont's image in "Singin' In the Rain," falls apart as soon as the talking starts.
  24. All the imagination and effort (including 18 months of pre-production) that went into making the dinosaurs state-of-the-art exciting apparently left no time to make the people similarly believable or involving. In fact, when the big guys leave the screen, you'll be tempted to leave the theater with them. [11 June 1993, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  25. We have a right to yawn, but we don't, and Sarah Polley is the reason.
  26. Like an aging athlete who knows how to husband strength and camouflage weaknesses, it makes the most of what it does well and hopes you won't notice its limitations.
  27. Try as they might, the filmmakers never hit the outer reaches of imagination that both Kubrick and Bowie did. Which is not to say the film completely implodes into a black hole either.
  28. At times a beautiful wandering, at other times an admirable character study, but rarely a powerful whole.
  29. Despite all-around wonderful performances and excellent dialogue, the story never quite coheres narratively. Instead it moves toward a hopelessly bleak -- and I mean bleak -- climax that's more traumatic than dramatic.
  30. It's a movie for people who really dig Cronenberg's mulchy fixations-and probably for no one else. [27 Dec 1991]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. At bottom, Lethal Weapon isn't much. It's a big, shallow, flashy, buddy-buddy cop thriller; it attacks you like a stereophonic steamroller, flattening everything behind it. Snatches of "Hustle" "Magnum Force" and "48 HRS." float above this plot like scum on a polluted lake, and the holes in logic and mindless climax are (or should be) embarrassing. [6 Mar 1987, p.4]
    • Los Angeles Times
  32. A glum and unpleasant experience, caught between what it wants to do and how it has chosen to do it.
  33. Magician may not be its own rich experience, but like Workman's many breathlessly compiled odes to the history of movies, it'll certainly spur a meaty living room film festival.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A sincere, slow-paced drama about a Florida family dealing with schizophrenia, Canvas is never terribly convincing, despite being inspired by writer-director Joseph Greco's life growing up with a mentally ill mother.
  34. Though the film is well made, the all-aftermath approach to Meadowland leaves a lot — an establishing, enlightening character stability, for one thing — to be desired.
  35. Zilberman's minimalistic approach fits the idea of the film better than it fits the actual film. It leaves this melancholy mood piece with some beautiful moments, but unlike Beethoven's work, A Late Quartet ultimately feels unfinished.
  36. As it is, Mrs. Palfrey seems to suggest the Claremont is located somewhere in the Twilight Zone. Where are the televisions? Where are the chain stores? Where are the immigrants? I see the buildings, but where is England?
  37. Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge (who is a physician!) keep the action spurting forward, but their approach is oblique. We seem to be catching the odds and ends of scenes; it's as if the filmmakers wanted to make a movie in which all the expected high points were skimped.
  38. At a certain point, though, the movie runs out of eccentricity capital and becomes just another contest documentary about determined participants — in this case, mostly obsessive young white men — and the well-worn narrative of defeat or accomplishment.
  39. Even though all the supporting elements of a superior film are here, the actual plot that everything is at the service of is disappointing. The texture of reality and the sheen of fine craft disguise this for a while, but not forever.
  40. The movie could have made its points — war is bad; music is the universal language — in half the time. But the harmonies are sweet, the acoustic picking impressive.
  41. Tom at the Farm is strange, idiosyncratic tale that straddles a fine line between homoerotic camp and spider-and-fly thriller.
  42. "Him" and "Her" are hardly groundbreaking cinema, but they are more rewarding than "Them."
  43. Not enough to save ivansxtc from, of all things, dullness.
  44. Kawalerowicz directs with briskness and vigor but cannot keep the first half of his film from slipping into tedium.
  45. A sweet and somber film that works hard to overcome its limitations.
  46. It's a movie about the warm feeling you get when you belong to a family, and, throughout, the thermostat is turned up high.
  47. Simply too tedious and stretched out to be amusing. Had Schorr brought in his picture at 80 or 90 minutes Schultze might have been a different story.
  48. The color riot, the polyester/shag décor and the cartoon portrayals detract. Girl Asleep thinks it’s a stylishly resonant fairy tale about identity when the primary takeaway is an exquisitely curated slide show.
  49. Genial and entertaining if not notably inspired. But its most interesting aspect turns out to be fantasies of another kind, pipe dreams about the American political system and where it could theoretically be headed.
  50. As a result of trying too hard to maintain the original's insouciant attitude, what was fresh now seems institutionalized, what was off the wall now feels carved in stone and the film's trademark irreverence has become dogma.
  51. Despite the pedestrian screenplay (by Jimenez and Audrey Diwan), Dujardin and Lellouche are magnetic performers who slip easily into their antagonistic roles.
  52. Stewart acquits himself solidly, though not thrillingly, as a beginning director, doing especially well in the film's involving central section dealing with Bahari's time in prison, where the filmmaking is as compelling as the feature's intentions are admirable.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Stillman too often substitutes pith for insight, until even that is drowned out by the sound of him chortling into his sleeve.
  53. A Wolf at the Door is undoubtedly effective and well-crafted, but its tale of reckless obsession and its inevitably unhappy ending are finally too unsavory for its own good.
  54. The movie has a lot of the elements that might make it thrilling and it's visually arresting, but it's missing the emotional connection necessary to make it interesting.
  55. The movie is pleasant and charming, but when making a big-screen adaptation of a beloved classic and genuine touchstone for generations, adequate doesn't feel like quite enough.
  56. Though amusing enough to avoid absolutely drowning in schmaltz, it's sad to see a film with potential lose its way in the late innings.
  57. The Creeping Garden cultivates more style than substance.
  58. The disappointingly pedestrian computer-animated Over the Hedge will be more entertaining for little tykes than their older siblings and parents, and would not seem out of place on Saturday morning television.
  59. The film becomes a dizzying descent into a world of contradictions, military illogic and ineffectual bureaucracy.
  60. It’s got some future-world smarts that sporadically elevate it above the junk that dominates this genre, and they help carry it through the routine spatter-and-gore moments and sci-fi clichés.
  61. Though ably acted and indisputably on the side of the angels, Suffragette as directed by Sarah Gavron is more dead-on earnest and schematic than it needs to be.
  62. Strip away all the flimsy copycat stuff, including the cheesy retro synth score, and what lurks beneath is a perceptive portrait of contemporary thirtysomething relationships, no silly sleuthing required.
  63. After keeping its balance over much treacherous terrain, greedily overreaches and stumbles badly at the close.
  64. Fascinating.
  65. The Book of Life juxtaposes overwrought visual imagery with an undernourished, familiar story.
  66. Smartly, the filmmakers minimize their topic's punchline potential. But even though the running time is short, the movie feels stretched out.
  67. They Will Have to Kill Us First doesn't offer much of a primer on Mali's political or cultural histories — which is the movie's biggest weakness. But Schwartz did capture some remarkable footage of musicians who've spent the last few years taking tentative steps to reclaim what makes their nation special.
  68. Under Australian director George Miller ("Mad Max"), The Witches of Eastwick begins so promisingly. It has such smashing separate moments, so succulent a cast and so interesting a premise that watching it crumble into stomach-turning crudeness and "Poltergeist"-scale special effects is deeply painful.
  69. Culkin's performance is never exploitative. His eyes often say everything, appearing simultaneously laser-focused and distant — he can't reconcile his brain with the world.
  70. The problem is not so much that World Trade Center is an attempt to make a feel-good movie about a ghastly situation, it's that the result feels forced, manufactured and largely -- but not entirely -- unconvincing.
  71. A certain exhaustion sets in well before the end, collapsing any meaningful distinction between camera-hogging self-indulgence and critical scrutiny.
  72. The super-hip style is groovy but doesn't mask the fact that Son of Rambow doesn't really go anywhere special or say anything much. For a film about falling in love with the movies, its insights on them are next to nil.
  73. The Phenom may be choppy, but it’s saying something sincere about how the pressure to be thought of as a winner can be an athlete’s most formidable opponent.
  74. There's no denying Watts' skill at a certain kind of desolate cat and mouse, but it's in the service of what is ultimately a somewhat heartless exercise.
  75. Crimson Peak's astonishing visuals don't enhance its story (co-written by the director and Matthew Robbins); they overwhelm it, encouraging us to stand back and admire the look when we should be involved in the emotional mechanics of this lurid tale.
  76. The uncomfortable reality remains that although this movie is effective moment to moment, very little of it lingers in the mind afterward. The ideal vehicle for our age of immediate sensation and instant gratification, it disappears without a trace almost as soon as it's consumed.
  77. All three look great and the filmmakers deliver a certain artiness, but their overall triviality and the unpleasantness of the first two make for an extremely distasteful experience.
  78. A compelling monotony, but one that's never quite pleasure, never quite pain and, therefore, never quite an experience.
  79. Unfortunately, the director’s breezy approach doesn’t always make for a captivating viewing experience.
  80. The movie suffers from the same malaise Romero diagnoses in society. It's just too mediated to be scary, despite its zeal for gore. You can't feel the characters' fear, and they don't seem to feel it either.
  81. Heart may be what the movie needs most, but a bit of clarity wouldn't hurt either. Even here in gangsterland, where random characters are cherished and non sequiturs are considered wisecracks, there is a difference between complications and impenetrability, and this plot is a bloody thicket.. [5 Oct 1990, Calendar, p.F-10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  82. As the only Austen work to be named after its heroine, Emma must have an engaging performance in the title role to succeed at all, and fortunately Gwyneth Paltrow, after a slow start, completely wins us over.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Dark Horse is a comedy of bad manners that's imbued with uncertainty about the world and one man's place in it. Modest and mildly entertaining, it's a miniature portrait of a potentially jumbo-sized failure.
  83. While it's difficult to dislike what this film tries to do, the way it does it is more problematic.
  84. LaGravenese... has understood that the worst of Bridges is not in its dialogue but in the silent musings that occupy its characters' minds. By keeping those thoughts unspoken, by allowing the camera to show instead of having words tell, much has been accomplished.
  85. Unlike "In Bruges," the outlandish parts of Seven Psychopaths, though often bleakly entertaining in their own right, remain a collection of weird riffs that not even engaging acting by Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Tom Waits can bring together.
  86. Make no mistake, it is lovely to look at this celebrity bedazzled bit of L.A. crime history for a while. But the movie ultimately leaves you feeling as empty as the lives it means to portray.
  87. Conventional dramatic hooks have no place in Garrel's filmography, so it's not surprising that his new movie is more atmospheric than involving, or that the two beautiful bed heads at its center hardly invite emotional connection.
  88. In each story the imagery dazzles at first, then becomes somewhat dreary; Ocelot's storytelling never quite matches his visual abilities.
  89. While this film fits squarely into Soderbergh's recurrent goal of ignoring audience interest when possible, that's the only area in which it can be considered a success.
  90. Matthau has the best role, but Robbins and Ryan are finally simply too good for their material, which is not nearly inspired enough to do justice to their talent.
  91. Elegy seems determined to make real every ageist dig that could be thrown its way -- out of touch, balefully slow and, for a film at least partly about the zesty enterprise of sex, awfully lifeless.
  92. For a movie about the creator of some of the most pointed, controversial comedies in television history, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You has a curious habit of sidestepping some of the thornier and more interesting aspects of its subject’s life.
  93. The problem with Sherry is that, unlike Ryan Gosling's Dan in "Half Nelson," whose humanity transcends his addiction and who is still capable, no matter how uneasily, to maintain relationships with others, she is a terminally uninteresting narcissist with a bad case of arrested development.
  94. Proyas is trying simultaneously to create a pure thriller and sci-fi nightmare along with his tongue-in-cheek critique of artifice. And this doesn't work out quite so well.
  95. Tonal swerves can be a source of useful friction; here they’re simply awkward, and Robespierre’s efforts to meld sentiment and laughs grow increasingly strained.
  96. Here are casual cruelty, crushing heartbreak and pressure from parents and peers, all of which can involve the viewer but are nothing revelatory.

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